Much love and respect to the great Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks who passed away earlier this month, but will live on forever through the incredible music he created.Â Jah bless!
Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks’ is arguably the most innovative saxophone players in all of Reggae music. His stunning fusion of Jazz, Afro-beat, Funk and Latin with Reggae sets him apart as a true pioneer, radically altering the limits and expectations of what Reggae music could sound like. Born in Jamaica, Cedric Brooks toured Caribbean hotels and clubs with various big bands and combos in the 1960s.
All the time, however, his own musical horizons – especially the breakthrough of new jazz – grew increasingly distant from the constrained, commercial music he had to play.
So when the chance came to visit America, Brooks eagerly accepted the opportunity. It was there that he became awe-struck by the music and vibes of jazz legend Sun Ra and Sonny Rollins. He was on the point of joining Sun Ra when the birth of his second daughter necessitated his return to Jamaica. Despite reggae being in full swing on the island, Cedric took up Sun Ra’s challenge by moving beyond reggae’s rocksteady beat by experimenting with free jazz and poetry, African robes and dancers. And so he formed his group The Light of Saba, taking leads from Hugh Masekela and Fela Kuti creating a multi-cultural ‘world music’ way ahead of its time.
The Light of Saba collects 18 of Cedric Brooks’ most exhilarating tracks blending African and US, Cuban and other West Indian influences – calypso and funk, rhumba, jazz bebop, nyabinghi and even ’70s disco – on top of a foundation of sunny, warm reggae music. All the originals go for big bucks & are impossible to find. If you’ve never heard of Cedric Brooks before, then get ready to experience reggae in ways you never thought possible. Simply brilliant!
“A bewitchingly beautiful blend of earthy roots, liquid jazz, sweet soul and playful Afro-beat…an extraordinarily uplifting retrospective…pure bliss for headspace wanderers.“